Local agencies prepare for winter storm

Local agencies prepare for winter storm
Texas Department of Transportation vehicle

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Whether you’re on the road or at home, the approaching winter storm could impact you.

That’s why agencies like the Texas Department of Transportation, Xcel Energy as well as first responders are preparing for the worst case scenario.

Local agencies prepare for winter storm

When the snow starts to fall, safety concerns begin to rise. That’s why Xcel Energy is planning ahead by moving supplies and personnel into key areas.

“Who we’re moving in are people like tree trimmers, and some specialized folks that are out there to patrol and find problem areas, so we’re gonna kinda move them in first,” said Wes Reeves, spokesman for Xcel Energy. “When the storm passes through or begins to take shape, we’ll know where we’re going to need more people and we can move them in if we need to.”

They’re not the only ones preparing. The TxDOT is grooming the roadways for snow and ice.

“They’ve been out there for the last 48-plus hours treating the roadways with brine which is essentially a saltwater mix,” said Sonja Gross, public information officer for TxDOT Amarillo. “It provides and protective barrier if you will between your tires and the roadway.”

Gross said their work does not end there.

“Once the event does happen, our trucks are out there patrolling 24-7 monitoring the conditions,” she said. “If it becomes necessary, and it looks like it will become very necessary, for us to treat those bridges and overpasses with sand.”

For drivers who do drift off the roadway, the Canyon Fire Department has you covered. The department has a truck with a removable water tank, allowing them more room to rescue people during storms.

“This is a military truck we got off a forest service grant,” said Captain Vince Whitfill with the department. “We kinda put it together because it’s actually one of our brush units. We go out and fight grass fires with it, but we can put the tarp on it for winter occasions, or flooding and load people in the back of it to help them get to safe locations.”

Whitfill said they are making sure they have enough crews to help this weekend.

“We’re a volunteer department so most times when the pager goes off, they come from the house to the station and out to the call,” said Whitfill. “This weekend will be a little different, we’re going to try to man the station for a 24 hour period just so we’ll be that much more on top of the game.”

While all three agencies do their part to ensure the safety of others, they ask you do yours as well and simply be prepared.

“Whether it’s a snow plow, a brine spreader or a truck that’s pouring out sand- give them enough room to do the job they need to do safely,” said Gross.

“If you walk outside and the power is out, make sure there are no down lines,” said Reeves. “If there are down lines let us know before we get there not only for your safety but for our safety as well. And of course, stay away because a downed line could still be energized.”

“Stay home,” said Whitfill. “Stay home and if you don’t need to get out, then don’t get out. There’s no reason to.”

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